“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you….Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD you God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:7,9
There’s a humorous video I watched a while ago about a woman who goes to a counselor (Bob Newhart). The woman is plagued with fears.
After she spends some time explaining how he is afraid the counselor says he has two words which will solve all her problems. He pauses and then screams, “Stop it!”
It can be tempting to think getting over our fears is just that easy. If we could just simply stop, all would be better. It can also seem that is all the Lord was doing in this passage when speaking to Joshua.
Three times God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. However, God does not end there.
He explains to Joshua how it can be possible.
God tells Joshua to follow His commands.
The Lord accompanies the instruction of being strong and courageous with an instruction to follow God’s other commands. He says to meditate on them day and night. He tells Joshua to keep the Law on his lips.
Joshua is expected to know the commands of God in and out, so Joshua can be fit to lead the people of Israel.
God says He will be with Joshua.
God does not look at Joshua and say, “Be strong and courageous. Now, I’ll be seeing you later.” He promises to stay with Joshua and go with him wherever he goes.
That has got to make Joshua stand up a little taller.
How it applies.
In life we are going to come across situations which may make us uneasy. We may even be afraid to move forward.
I believe God has the same expectations of us as he did Joshua. We must continually find ourselves in God’s word. We need to know it in and out.
That is not going to happen overnight. It will take the rest of our lives. So we should start now.
When we are following the commands of God, He will be with us. The Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus’s ascension into heaven to be a guide. God is still literally with us wherever we go.
All we need to do is know His word follow the commands we find in it.
Does that mean we will never face hardship?
The people of Israel were literally crossing into the promised land where they knew battles would be waged.
We will face plenty of battles. But when we follow God’s leading, we will come out on the winning side.
Because we know that, we can be strong and courageous.